Sunday, April 27, 2008

Looking For Stanley

When the Rangers won the Cup I was still a Blackhawks fan although by that point it was almost over. I was cheering for the Rangers that spring. I hated Jersey (already) and I also wanted to see the drought end for New York. I was a fan of thsoe great Oilers' clubs and wanted to see all of the ex-Oilers hoist the Cup one more time.

Most of all I wanted Steve Larmer to win it. Larmer was a great player, one of the most underappreciated players of his era. He did it all at both ends of the rink and when Chicago dumped him over money (what else?) that really was the beginning of the end of my support for that franchise. In my opinion Steve Larmer belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. It likely won't happen and I admit he is a borderline candidate at best but if Clark Gillies ...

Lowetide often brings up the example of Mark Howe as a guy who belongs in the Hall but whose career is underestimated because he never won. You can be sure that the aforementioned Gillies is in because of the Cups he won and Glenn Anderson will finally make it because of his. Winning a Cup tops off a guy's resume - he becomes a guy who knows what it takes, who has been there. the veteran presence in the room that contenders look for.

As an aside, Jerry Krause, mentioned in my last post, used that argument after he had broken up the Bulls. Trying to peddle a guy he would say "He's won three rings!". Said player might be the twelfth man on the roster, nailed to the bench, but Krause always tried to sell that point.

The second round of these year's playoffs looks to be as good as the first. The quality of hockey has been excellent. There are no Bettman teams still alive. You have three Original Six clubs, two of the most successful expansion clubs in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, two clubs who were big players over the last decade in Dallas and Colorado and a San Jose club with an interesting playoff history and a rabid fanbase. No Nashvilles or Floridas in this bunch. I'm not one to trun the TV off when the Oilers are eliminated. I don't watch every game but I watch what I can.

As a hockey fan I look at this list of teams and on almost every one I see a reason to hope for a championship.

The Avs - of course there is Ryan Smyth but seeing Forsberg, Sakic and Foote turn back the clock would be pretty cool too. Nobody I really dislike on the Avs but of course now that I am cheering for them the Wings are waxing them.

Detroit - Seeing Chris Osgood backstop these guys to a Cup would be pretty funny and seeing Cleary win it would be pretty cool. You also have the sublime Zetterberg and Datsyuk as well as Lidstrom. And for sheer comedic brilliance seeing Chris Chelios win one as he nears fifty would be hard to beat. Maybe he would slewfoot Bettman as he skated by.

San Jose - Joe Thornton seems like a guy who would be fun to drink beer with. Mike Grier is awesome. And Doug Wilson should have his name on the Cup. Big minus - Ron Wilson is an asshole.

Dallas - Dallas is Dallas. I like Brad Richards. I like Finland. Other then that, meh. Which means they are likely going all the way.

Pittsburgh - beautiful collection of youngsters plus LeGG and Gary Roberts. Also Ty Conklin, who even when he was pretty well humiliated in Edmonton never said a bad word. A true pro.

Montreal - Saku Koivu, the flamboyant Kovalev and Bob Gainey who has had far more heartbreak then any man should ever have

Rangers - Jagr's last shot and Shanahan's too. Marc Staal is going to be a great. Overall I am pretty neutral about these guys. Avery is a dick though.

Philadelphia - its probably going to be Philly/Dallas in the end. To see Jason Smith accept the Cup would be amazing. We all know how I feel about Thoresen's quest to finally win the Cup. Plus they have some nice players in Timmonen, Briere, Carter and Richards. But to see Lupul, Hatcher and Downie skate around with Stanley...

Yeah its going to be Philly.


HBomb said...

Admit it Pat - you LIKE Avery and you know it. I'm considering openly petitioning for the Oilers to sign the guy. Asshole? Sideshow? Yes on both counts. But we need that element (maybe he's the sort of guy that centers a kickass 3rd line with Torres and Pisani and helps bring out the best of the Raff-man). And you know what? He's a good fucking hockey player.

I'm happy as long as the Philly/Montreal winner doesn't take the Cup. A piece o' shit like Lupul should never get near Stanley, and even though the Habs squad has nothing worth hating - their fans would become absolutely insufferable if they were to end the 15 year "Canada Curse". We'd never hear the end of the "God's team" references....

Black Dog said...

No argument from this side on Avery's value as a player; he's terrific, no doubt.

I just don't like punks.

As you get older you forget. In Sudbury growing up it was pretty well Habs all the time and most of my peers were Montreal fans. I don't remember a single guy who was a Leafs' fan. This was before the MLSE BS marketing started.

Every single hockey argument would end with "Oh yeah, how many Cups has your team won?"

As LT says, just another club now. Until they win again, I guess.

Nuckels said...

Is Avery a free-agent comin up? If so, he would be a perfect fit for the Canucks :) Imagine Avery, Kesler and Burrows playin together. All that would be missin would be Matte Cooke coachin :)
Its a good time to watch hockey, as I dont really hate anyone and dont really like anyone. Maybe the Wings I guess.
And good on you for likin Finland. Its a fine place with a passion for hockey.
ps. The rangers winnin the cup made me want to weep, We were so close that year... sOB

Jonathan said...

Thanks for saying good things about Ty Conklin. Completely agree, and I'd like to see him win it.

If Philadelphia or Dallas wins I'll be very upset. Dallas is pure evil, and as for Philly, the whole idea of that team is so noxious that I can't even get into it. Lup...Dow...Cot...Hatch...grr.

Oh, and Sean Avery is a jackass who should never even get close to the cup. Yes, he's an effective hockey player, but watching Chris Drury give him a crosscheck when he was being a freakshow in front of Brodeur showed me as much as I need to see of what he does to his teammates.

doritogrande said...

For some reason, I can't not cheer for Dallas. Something about this team this year makes me forget how they always used to cruise by the Oilers on the way to better things. Richards is beautiful to watch, and Morrow is everything I hoped we had in a captain in Moreau...sans injuries of course.

Steve Ott>>>Sean Avery.

Oh, and thank your Sudbury nickel-pups for whipping my "we're so good we never lose" Winnipeg Thrashers tonight. It almost put tears in my eyes to see those 17-year olds cry like babies.

Bruce said...

I'm with DG on Dallas. Still hate the city, hate the franchise, but I kinda like the current team.

The real assholes -- Derian "The Ugly American" Hatcher, Eddie "The Separator" Belfour, Pat "The Little Ball of Hate" Verbeek, Benoit "Fucking" Hogue -- are mostly gone (if not forgotten, given Hatcher's latest crudity). I respect guys like Modano and Lehtinen, while Turco, Morrow, Robidas, and Zubov are downright fun to watch. Plus they took it to the Ducks, and are now taking it to the Sharks: what's not to like about that?

Black Dog said...

Yeah guys but its Dallas.


Don't know if I'm just mellowing (apparently I'm not the only one) but Dallas, the Habs ... all of the teams that used to piss me off don't anymore - maybe I just tired of Bettman teams winning. Even the Stars have some sort of tradition.

dg - yeah that was a big win for a team that loves its hockey - a friend of mine used to coach the Sudbury coach (he is only 28, mind you) so it was nice to see a bit of a connection as well - I used to see him play quite a bit back in the day

Matt said...

Yeah guys but its Dallas.

It'll be nice to see Toby Petersen finally get his Cup. :)

Black Dog said...

And Winchester too.